How much art is in the Vatican?

When it comes to Vatican City, the first thing most think of is the fabulous artwork packed within.

From buildings to endless galleries, to fascinating museums- the city is crammed full of some of the best artworks in the world.

Vatican City’s Artwork

The Vatican has always been known for its artwork, being the home for the hundreds of Popes of the region, with each one commissioning or collecting prized artworks during their reign. Famous painters, sculptors, and architects of Europe have some of their best creations within this city, particularly the masters of the Renaissance era.

The Best Buildings to See

The Sistine Chapel

This is an obvious choice when it comes to the city’s grand buildings, with the Sistine Chapel the biggest tourist spot around. First being created in the 1470s, by the Pope Sixtus IV- hence the name, the building has undergone multiple renovations over the years, with the main revamp done in 1508. When Pope Julius II commissioned the renowned Michelangelo to create a ceiling masterpiece. Featuring 300 figures, boasting immense detail and beauty, this ceiling is one of the grandest paintings in the world, with each section detailing a different story from the bible. Visitors come out of the chapel with an ache in their neck and wonder in their eyes!

The Best Rooms to See

Raphael Rooms

Raphael is known for being in the top three masters of the Renaissance period, with the Raphael Rooms being his greatest accomplishment. It took the majority of his life to create, with Raphael passing before it was even finished, only for his students to complete the remaining rooms from his sketches. The artwork lies in four rooms, once being in the private residence of the Pope. Named Constantine, Heliodorus, Segnatura, Fire in the Borgo rooms, each room showcases a truly spectacular series of frescoes. Each is themed, and honour certain religious stories or beliefs through certain figures and symbols.

The Best Sculptures to see

Laocoön and His Sons

This stunning marble statue was discovered by a past Pope, being one of the first grand art pieces in Vatican City. The sculpture depicts the Trojan priest Laocoön and his two sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus, while they fight off an attack by the sea serpents. The figures tension and pain from the attack can be seen through the thick stone sculpture and is truly mesmerising to see in person. With the figure’s muscles and features making them incredibly lifelike! This story of Laocoon is said to be from both the Greek and Roman mythology, and this sculpture is said to be a copy from an original bronze piece.

Best Paintings to see

Giotto’s Stefaneschi Triptych

Painted by the medial master known as Giotto di Bondone, he completed this incredible piece between 1320 and 1330. The triptych is a panel painting, with three large sections of wood all placed together to create a series painting. Each board depicts a different image, with all three creating one story. It was once the altarpiece in the Old St. Peter’s Basilica, commissioned by Cardinal Jacopo Caetani Stefaneschi back in the day. However, due to its fragility from its age, it is kept within the Pinacoteca art gallery for visitors to view safely.

Related article: Artists of the Vatican City

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